Serena Williams Slams Sexism against Female Athletes

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Gabriel Keller, Staff Writer

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From a banned catsuit to punishment for defending herself, professional tennis player Serena Williams has faced discrimination throughout the US Open tennis tournament, and throughout her career. Her treatment raises serious questions about the treatment of all female athletes, even the ones at Masters.

This summer, the French Tennis Federation banned Williams’ catsuit to “respect the game and the place.” The catsuit is a black, full-body compression suit that Williams wore to prevent blood clots, an issue she has dealt with in the past. It lead to criticism of Williams’ body, which she’s faced before. People have compared her body a man’s since the beginning of her career. Even the head of the Russian Tennis Federation chipped in, calling the Williams sisters “the Williams brothers” in 2014. Also, Anna White, a white woman, wore a catsuit without criticism at Wimbledon, 33 years ago.

Williams continued to face adversity during the tournament. In her loss at the US Open Finals on Saturday, Sept. 8, Williams found herself in an argument with the chair umpire, calling him a “thief’ after he gave the game to Naomi Osaka, Williams’ opponent. “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things, and I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality…And for me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.” Williams said in her post-game interview. Williams continues to take a stand for this women’s rights issue, even though she was fined $17,000 for her actions.

Several female athletes at Masters have also experienced sexism. Junior Gabi Seguinot, a striker on the Girls Varsity Soccer team, explained how their soccer team seems to get less positive recognition than the boys teams when they win, and more negative recognition when they lose. Masters athletic Director Kevin Versen also gave a little insight on how female high school athletes get away with much less than males in many different sports. “I don’t think that high school officials call the games the same,” said Versen. As these show, this problem stretches way beyond the professional level.

Hopefully, Williams continues her effort towards gender equality in sports. It’s extremely important to recognize female athletes as athletes. They deserve the same respect as their male counterparts, and it’s not that hard to give that to them.


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